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Published:
2020-05-24 12:36:26 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Jessie Casiulis, who volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I currently have three hats in the OTW: Board Director, Translation Staff, and Volunteer Tag Wrangler.

On the Board of Directors, my role is to help run the Organization. My fellow directors and I approve projects, make financial decisions, and ensure the OTW's compliance with legal obligations. We also work hand-in-hand with committees and chairs, to support them through their day-to-day work and to plan for the Organization's long-term goals.

As Translation staff, I mostly do volunteer management, with a side of document handling. Translation staffers assign tasks, handle hiatus requests, run interviews, check-ins, and training chats, and generally provide all kinds of help for translators. We also proof-read documents for translatability and coordinate updates when previously translated documents get modified.

Last but not least, as a Tag Wrangler, I contribute to ensuring that tags are properly sorted and hooked, so that AO3 users can use our search filters accurately and efficiently.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

There’s no real typical week for me as a volunteer: different weeks provide different challenges depending on the workload I have for each committee. I usually work a couple of hours each day, but my hours go wild occasionally. If there’s a fire to deal with, none of us count our hours until the problem we have is solved. Similarly, time-intensive events, such as recruitment or check-ins, will see me glued to my computer a lot more often, be it because of meetings, note-taking, or general information monitoring. Not to mention on-call weeks for Translation.

It can be tiring at times, but everyone tries to be really considerate of everyone else. We support each other through difficult weeks, and try to keep an eye out for potential burn-outs. No one will ever make you feel bad for asking for help, or for needing a week off occasionally.

Board members hold the only elected positions in the OTW. What made you decide to run?

People! Being in the OTW means being part of a community of people who uplift you and help you see the best in you, be it with praise, constructive criticism, or good-natured ribbing. I was interested in Board work, but I was on the bench about running. The people I spoke to about it convinced me to try, and supported me through the election process. Without them I don’t think I would have had the confidence to run.

Board members have to have volunteered in the OTW for some time before they can serve on the board. What are some of the things you’ve worked on before in the OTW?

I started in the OTW as a French translator. I joined up at the same time as some super-energetic and invested peeps who are still in the OTW, being awesome humans. Together, we had a lot of fun updating French policies, reviewing translations, and translating often challenging documents.

Then, I joined the Support Committee where I helped AO3 users with technical issues, answered their questions, and forwarded their feedback to the relevant committees. My inner tinkerer was happy to discover the scaffolding behind AO3, and all of its lesser-known features. I encourage anyone with an interest in the tech parts of AO3 and an interest in customer service to apply to Support!

And finally, I was already a tag wrangler when I joined Board.

What fannish things do you like to do?

What fannish things don’t I like to do? I write and read -- which reminds me that I should write more if I ever hope to finish my current WIP. I draw badly, and craft even worse, but I always enjoy it. I sometimes cosplay. I DM homebrew versions of role-playing games set in my players’ and my favorite universes, and moderate some Discord servers. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve come across a fannish activity I didn’t enjoy... including sports, as my combat-ready lightsabers can attest to.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2020-04-19 12:34:24 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Alex Xanthoudakis, who volunteers as a Fanhackers project staffer on the Communications Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I’m a Fanhackers volunteer, so I help run all the Fanhackers accounts! Our mission is to help make fan studies scholarship more accessible to people, which feeds into the OTW’s larger mission of providing access to and preserving the history of fan culture in its myriad forms, and providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans. A lot of this stuff—-recorded histories, really cool analyses, various legitimizing works—-is found in books and articles that are very often behind a paywall or university firewall. My job as a Fanhackers volunteer requires me to read things, pull out what I think is important or interesting, and share the educational wealth, so to speak!

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

Reading, reading, reading! I read fan studies scholarship and then post about it, whether that be a quote, a quote and explanatory text, or just something I found interesting about an article. I work with two really amazing other volunteers; we’ve staggered our posting schedule throughout the week, so I’ll usually read over the weekend and draft my post in time to post for Monday afternoon/evening. Right now, I’m also in charge of monitoring the Fanhackers Tumblr, so any questions directed to that platform will probably be answered by me!

What made you decide to volunteer?

The OTW has been instrumental to my fan experience, primarily through AO3, but also through Fanhackers and a lot of the outreach they do. Because of this, I really wanted to help keep the Organization up and running in any small way I could.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Meeting new people! It’s been so fun to get to work with other like-minded fans—-and the fact I’m part of a group trying to make scholarship more accessible is also pretty rad!

What fannish things do you like to do?

I’m a huge fan of fic and am a fic writer; I started about 13 years ago and haven’t looked back since! I’ve also tried my hand at fanart (it was a disaster, but incredibly fun), and when the mood strikes, like making gifs. On the visual side of things, though, my favourite thing has to be organizing and designing zines. I’ve been lucky enough to work on two and seeing participants’ creativity, as well as being able to hold a physical copy of all that hard work, is extremely inspiring and satisfying!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2020-03-27 12:56:46 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Sarken, who volunteers as co-chair of the Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I'm a co-chair of the committee responsible for the development and maintenance of the Archive of Our Own codebase. The Archive provides a home for over five million fanworks, which supports the OTW's goals of preserving and providing access to fanworks.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

AD&T operates in release cycles, which generally last more than a week, but it's not uncommon to start the week by finishing a release: ensuring all of the changes have been tested, polishing the release notes, and letting other committees know about any changes that might affect their work before the new code is deployed to the Archive.

Once that's done, we wait about a day before putting the next round of code changes onto our staging site, where volunteers from AD&T and other committees test the changes. I usually help coordinate that work in addition to doing some testing myself.

While that's going on, we're also looking ahead to future releases. That involves prioritizing issues and making sure someone is available to write or review the code.

There are a lot of other tasks that might come up during a given week, too, such as handling requests for database work, consulting with Support, making bug reports, or updating documentation. If we're having a widespread issue like slowness or downtime, we also have to communicate the problem to users, which sometimes involves quickly drafting a news post, but almost always involves tweeting. (If someone is tweeting from @AO3_Status, there's a good chance it's me or my co-chair mumble!)

Once those tasks are handled, then I get to write some code!

What made you decide to volunteer?

In 2011, Elz -- one of the AD&T co-chairs at the time -- saw some of the site skins I'd made and asked if I'd like to volunteer. I'd been a fan of the Archive ever since astolat made her "An Archive of One's Own" post in 2007, so it was an easy yes.

I'm also a tag wrangler, which is a role I volunteered for specifically to improve my understanding of how the wrangling features are used. That knowledge comes in handy when working on the wrangling code, plus it makes it easier to communicate with the Tag Wrangling committee about bugs and feature requests.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

The people! My team is terrific, and I really enjoy getting to talk to and work with people from other committees. There are people I talk to almost every day who I wouldn't have met without volunteering, and my life would be poorer for not knowing such kind, talented people.

Coding itself is a pretty close second, though. It's extremely satisfying to hunt down the cause of a bug, and nothing quite beats the "ah-ha!" moment when you finally solve it. Of course, that moment usually gets ruined pretty quickly by the realization you still need to write tests for your new code...

What fannish things do you like to do?

I've made a few vids and recorded some podfic, but my main fannish activity outside the OTW is writing fic. I mostly write het and femslash, or at least I try to write het and femslash -- about half of those attempts end up being gen.

And whenever I can, I love to leave long comments on fanworks I've enjoyed. You never know when you'll make someone's day, and sometimes you just might make a new friend.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2020-02-21 12:27:29 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Kristina, who volunteers as co-editor of the OTW's project Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC).

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

Karen Hellekson and I were tasked from the beginning with representing the academic arm of the OTW. We had been discussing the need for an academic fan studies journal around the same time as the first discussions for an archive began, and we started laying the foundations shortly after the OTW was founded. We found an open access platform, defined our policies, picked an editorial board, and put out the first call for papers. We published the first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures a little over a year after in September 2008.

In order to gain and retain our academic credentialing as a journal, we needed the editorial side to be clearly separate from the OTW organization side. Our connection to the OTW is crucial but also fairly specific: our staff are OTW volunteers and we report to the board, but all editorial decisions are made independently by double-blind peer reviewers who are experts in fan studies.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

We publish one general issue and one or two special issues a year, and essay submissions come in year-round, with rushes of work around deadlines. I am responsible for screening all submissions to see if they adhere to our requirements, and I will reject submissions that do not fit journal guidelines (length, genre, topic). Every other essay gets sent to peer reviewers. I communicate with reviewers and authors until the essay is ready to be accepted and sent to production. So my typical week is writing a lot of emails and fairly regularly reading and reviewing essays. I used to solicit a lot in the early days, and I still joke that I beg, bully, barter, and bribe friends and acquaintances to submit material and/or peer review for TWC.

What were the early days of TWC like?

Exciting and crazy! We started everything from scratch, and it was great but also exhausting. We were learning procedures as we were creating them, and everything was mostly held together with spit and goodwill and a lot of effort, mostly on Karen’s and my part. Neither of us was affiliated with any university, the journal was online only, and we published fan studies research, so to ensure credibility it was really important to publish sound academic research that was professionally edited. In line with OTW’s basic philosophy, it was important that the journal be open access, so that all fans, regardless of affiliation or access, could read the research.

Karen and I were (and to a degree still are) the last line, and that meant that there were a lot of panicked phone calls and picking up slack, especially in the first few years. We have published every issue on time for the past 10 years and over 30 issues! That has meant, however, that Karen is copyediting and coding and proofreading essays the night before we go live, because a volunteer had not done her assignment; or it means I am interrupting my family holidays to email authors on my phone on crappy hotel Wi-Fi.

Today, the journal has a solid reputation and we get a good number of unsolicited submissions. Many of our procedures have been documented, and of course we follow standard academic journal workflow, but so much of what we've done, we’ve learned to do through trial and error. Karen and I are both looking forward to passing our editor batons to new scholars in the next few years.

What is your professional life like outside of your TWC work? Any projects you'd like to talk about?

I am an adjunct professor at my local university, and I’m pretty adamant to be identified as an independent researcher. Just like with OTW and TWC, I think it’s important for fans and fan studies scholars to come together. Karen and I were editors of the volume Fan Fiction and Fan Studies in the Age of the Internet (2006), which I’m proud to say helped create a whole new generation of fan studies scholars, and my own book, Framing Fan Fiction, came out last year.

I was also part of the group that created the first fan studies conference in the United States/North America, the Fan Studies Network: North America, which had its second annual conference at DePaul University in Chicago in October 2019. In what might have been the strangest work I’ve ever done, I became an expert witness in a plagiarism trial centering around Omegaverse tropes.

I try to go to one academic conference a year, mostly to see friends, meet new people in the field, and solicit for TWC, but I happily travel if invited (and supported). This spring I’ll be giving a talk on TWC and OTW with Karen Hellekson and Francesca Coppa at Berkeley, and I’m very excited! Finally, I am writing a new book on Fan Fantasies and the Politics of Desire with my friend (and early TWC volunteer) Alexis Lothian.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I started as a reader (and lurker) in the late 1990s, and fan fiction has remained the center of my fannish interest and my academic work. I used to say that talking about fandom is my fannish thing to do, back when I wrote a lot of meta and helped organize and run things. But after starting TWC (and especially the last three years when I was on the OTW board), that has mostly eaten up all my fannish energies. I still read fanfic and listen to podfic and talk to people one-on-one about stories, but changes in fannish interactions and changes in myself (maybe) have made me be much less public and much less vocal.

I also haven’t really felt like I’m actively part of a fandom since, probably, Stargate Atlantis or maybe Teen Wolf. I still read a lot of fic, but I’m also reading a lot of m/m and other romance. At the moment, I am about all things The Witcher (game, TV show, books, fanfic), but by the time this is published, I may have fallen for something else. Following the phrase of a dear (and now departed) old friend: I am a fannish butterfly!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2020-01-20 11:12:41 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Stacey Lantagne, who volunteers as member of OTW's Legal Advocacy project. It's posted today to highlight the celebration of Copyright Week

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As a volunteer for the Legal Committee, I work on behalf of OTW's mission to protect and nurture fanworks as a legitimate creative activity. The Legal Committee monitors legislation in the United States as well as internationally, and provides comments on behalf of the interests of fan creators. For instance, recently the Legal Committee provided comments in response to New Zealand's request for input on its review of its Copyright Act (with help from New Zealand AO3 users!). We also join briefs in legal court cases that have fanwork implications, as well as review internal procedures and policies to ensure compliance.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

It depends on what's going on! Sometimes I'm working on a specific project, like the New Zealand comments, or checking the nonprofit regulations of all fifty states as they apply to the OTW. Sometimes I'm getting ready to be a guest at a con or speak on a panel at a conference about fannish legal issues. Sometimes I'm assisting in efforts to communicate about major legal changes, like the EU's recent new regulations. Sometimes I'm just helping to respond to the many emails that come in weekly, whether asking questions about works on AO3 or asking questions about personal fan projects people are working on. The Legal Committee can't give legal advice, but we strive to provide relevant legal information.

What did AO3's Hugo win in 2019 mean for OTW's Legal Team?

For the Legal Team, as I think for everyone involved with the OTW, the Hugo win felt like a huge recognition of the validity and importance of fanworks in creativity. At the same time, we recognize that it's not the end of our work. But it was incredibly inspiring to watch all those people at the Hugos speak up for how much fanworks have played a part in their lives. We at the Legal Committee were waving along at home!

Why do you think Copyright Week is an important event?

Copyright isn't just a law for Disney; it's a law for all people who create, and that's most people! Copyright Week is important because it raises awareness of how much copyright is there for all of us. A lot of the narrative we hear about copyright is in terms of piracy and media conglomerates but copyright is out there protecting all of those stories you scribble or doodles you draw, just to make yourself happy! It also has protection built in to make sure the rest of us have some freedom to engage with the behemoth copyright properties, and Copyright Week reminds us of that.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I am a voracious consumer of all things fannish. I wish I could draw, because I'm in awe of fan artists, but I'm a writer myself. Catch me on a perfect weekend curling up with a 150K coffee shop AU.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2019-12-12 10:46:00 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Anhaita, who volunteers with the Translation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As a volunteer, I'm part of the Translation Committee. Our main objective is making the site and its content available in different languages for easy accessibility and understanding to all those whose first language isn't English. We help in cross lingual communications with other Committees as well! (Support and Abuse, for example).

Translation is also subdivided into smaller language teams, so no matter what language you wish to communicate in, we most likely have someone to make sure the message gets interpreted correctly. As the OTW is geared towards fans from various communities and cultures, our goal is to make sure people can access our website in languages they feel comfortable with.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

As I'm part of a very small team (literally, it's just two of us here), we mainly have a large number of documents to sort through and translate. So usually, I spend the week translating a document, perhaps a webpage for the OTW site, like the FAQs or a News post. At times, I may get contacted to help translate a text-image, or fic-tags in my language, for a different Committee -- we are kind of the go-between here!

Translating some words into my language, Marathi, can be pretty tough, and sometimes hilarious even. We have to figure out how sentence structures have to be changed to fit a text, or the closest possible translation is used. Fun fact: Fanvid is literally translated to mean "Western Picture Gallery" in Marathi (because that's a word English totally dreamt up one day and refused to inform the other languages).

On the whole, it's a pretty relaxing workload, and is easily managed side by side with university life (with some good time management skills; seriously, if it's one thing I've learnt as a volunteer, it's that!).

What made you decide to volunteer?

I've always wanted to, I think. On some level, I wanted to give back to the community that has been there for me in little ways, throughout my formative years, providing encouragement and companionship when I needed it. And volunteering for the OTW was a way to do that, to be a part of something that allows fans to have a wholesome and positive environment to exercise their creativity in! It also allowed me to actively support the site that I'd grown so fond of!

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

The sense of community! Seriously, imagine hundreds of people with like minded interests and passion for fannish activities -- it's a wonderful feeling. Another thing I've really enjoyed is taking part in the annual International Fanworks Day celebration -- hosting games and interacting with people who've come to enjoy this site so much. It's lovely to see how this site has brought fans together!

What fannish things do you like to do?

Oh, a myriad of things! I've read, written and even beta-read many fanfictions over the years. I've taken part in and helped organise a couple of fanwork challenges, and I love browsing through the truly wonderful fan art created by artists out there!

But mainly, reading (devouring) fanfiction has become a very integral part of my life. I've officially read more fanfiction than books by now!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2019-11-10 11:21:31 -0500
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Olivia Riley, who volunteers as a graphics creator.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

That old idiom that “a picture is worth a thousand words” tends to hold particularly true on the internet, where users face an info-overload on a daily basis. The OTW needs visuals in order to break through the babble: bright, easily digestible messages to catch audience’s eyes and draw them into the larger conversation. That’s where we graphics volunteers come in!

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

Part of the fun of being a graphics volunteer is that it’s always changing! The most frequent graphic we make is headers for the “This Week in Fandom” post, but aside from that, it depends on what events are going on in the OTW that need visual accompaniment. So, I’ll get a message from the folks in Communications, who wrangle requests for graphics from the other arms of the OTW, and they’ll give me the basics on what they need. I’ll draft an image up and share it, and then it’ll go off to be approved by the relevant committee. If it needs some tweaking, I’ll edit it, and then the new version will go off into the cyber-world!

What made you decide to volunteer?

I’d been studying AO3 & the OTW as the centerpiece of an undergraduate research project for a while, so when I saw a call go out for volunteers, I really wanted to do something to give back to this awesome organization that had so benefited both my personal and academic lives. I’d recently taken a class introducing me to graphic design and realized that the graphics volunteer gig was a perfect opportunity to use those skills!

Do you have any favorite graphics you've created?

The “This Week in Fandom” graphics are always fun! They give me a reason to experiment with new graphic design tips and tricks. This one is a particular favorite…

What fannish things do you like to do?

It pretty much runs the gamut! I love to vid (Gotham and Hannibal, lately), I write a good bit of fic, and I’ve tinkered around with making gifsets and drawing fanart. I’ve recently started listening to a lot of podfic and would like to try making some of my own!


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Published:
2019-10-03 11:00:53 -0400
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Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with SimK, who volunteers with the Translation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I'm a translator, beta and the team coordinator for the Malay language translation team. We translate, among other things, news posts and announcements, as well as support sections for the OTW and AO3 such as the FAQ and Terms of Service. While there's not much fanfiction in Malay on the Archive, it's important that it remain accessible to non-English speakers, or anyone who has an easier time with their native language, especially sections that can help members use the site to their full enjoyment.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

When it comes to translating and beta-ing, I don't really have a set schedule and generally do it after work on weekdays. As a team coordinator I organize team meetings that I try to keep fairly regular, where we discuss terms and some of the more complicated translations we face. We work together to set standard terms in order to maintain consistency throughout our translations, but that isn't always easy. Colloquial Malay, which we use on an everyday basis, can differ very much from standard written Malay, and we often end up with long discussions about exactly how formal or "slangy" we should go.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I'm not living in Malaysia at the moment, and when I saw the recruitment notice I saw it as an excellent opportunity to maintain my command of Malay and to keep in touch with the language, especially living in a country now where almost no one speaks it. I've also been using the Archive almost since its inception; it's only right that I give back to the community that has given me so much joy over the years.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Finding out how much work goes on behind the scenes. Most people are familiar with the Archive, but aren't aware of the many other branches that the coexist with it, such as Fanlore, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors and Legal Advocacy. Running all that takes a lot of work and it's just great to be a part of that.

Within the translation team itself, my favourite parts are the post-meeting chats where we talk about some of the stranger phrases we've had to translate, complain about Malay and English language conventions, and reminiscence about our Malaysian education system. Also sometimes just wrangling with a particularly tricky translation can be immensely satisfying. I really enjoy translating legalese, FAQs and any exciting announcements that the OTW and AO3 have to make, such as this year's Hugo Awards News Packet.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I read and write a lot of fanfic, and every now and then try my hand at a fanvid. I joined fandom in the early 2000s (when Geocities was still around!) and haven't left since. Over the years, I've cycled through various fandoms, making a [bad?] habit of arriving slightly too late once most of the excitement has passed. But as it goes in fandom, there's always someone still hanging around, or discovering it at the same time as you are, so it's never dull. I love rarepairs, and in my current fandom I'm trying to nurture a few pairing canoes, alongside the steady tugboat of my OTP.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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